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Rectal bleeding treatments

If you have rectal bleeding there are a number of things you can do to help manage the condition. Here is some self-help information.

A common cause of rectal bleeding is constipation, and this can lead to haemorrhoids (piles) and anal fissures.

If you have constipation, you can help ease it by:

  • drinking plenty of water, unless you have an existing medical condition that means this is not possible
  • eating fibre-rich foods, such as bran cereals, fruit, vegetables and wholegrain bread
  • avoiding processed foods, such as white bread and cheese
  • keeping active and mobile to reduce the risk of getting constipated
  • going to the toilet when you have the urge.

Bleeding caused by anal fissures needs to be confirmed by a doctor. There are some rare causes of fissures relating to other bowel problems that need to be ruled out by your doctor. If you have confirmed that you have simple fissures, you can ease the discomfort by:

  • very carefully wiping the anal area after going to the toilet and using soft toilet paper
  • having warm baths a few times a day
  • seeing your pharmacist for topical creams to reduce the pain
  • making sure you eat a healthy diet with plenty of fibre, and drink plenty of fluids to keep your stool as soft and well-formed as possible.

Do not apply creams and lotions to the area that were not prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist because this can cause more trauma.

For people with bleeding associated with haemorrhoids (piles), it is important to see a doctor to identify any potential cause. The self-care advice is the same as that for anal fissures. If your haemorrhoids keep coming back, it is important to talk to your doctor about the possibility of referral to a surgeon.

For any other cause of rectal bleeding, such as inflammatory bowel diseases, ulcers, or infections, you need to follow the advice given to you by your healthcare professional.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about rectal bleeding, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: July 2015

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